Cirrus Leverages Move Amidst Growing Pains

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Growth can be a pain and the market's thirst for Cirrus airplanes may force the company to shift some of its production from Duluth to Grand Forks, N.D. Cirrus wants to build an additional 60,000 square feet of manufacturing space to increase production from 12 planes a week to 16. But problems with contaminated soils (and leasing issues on the proposed site) in Duluth could make the company look west, according to a story in the Duluth News Tribune. Cirrus spokesman Bill King said the company hopes to move into its new digs by the end of the year. "The truth is we need that space now," he said. The first choice for the building is land adjacent to its existing quarters. Not only is the soil contaminated, it's already leased to the Air National Guard. The Duluth Airport authority is fighting to allow the Cirrus expansion by providing $33,000 to help fund an assessment of the proposed site. "Cirrus has been a great business for Duluth and we need to do whatever we can to help them," said airport commissioner Todd Fedora. There are no such complications in Grand Forks, where Cirrus already has a plant making composite parts. If necessary, King said, a planned expansion of the Grand Forks plant could be increased to shift more manufacturing facilities from Duluth. King told the paper Cirrus would rather keep those operations in Duluth but it will do what it has to in order to meet production goals.